Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership (2016 – 2020)


This Plan of Action is aimed at implementing the goals and objectives of the Joint Statement on the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership, the Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership, and the ASEAN-U.S. Summits, to strengthen the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership for Enduring Peace and Prosperity. It will continue to pursue the goals and objectives of these documents in the next five years (2016-2020), building upon the strong cooperation between ASEAN and the United States since 1977 and the achievements made in the implementation of the previous Plan of Action (2011-2015).

This Plan of Action identifies priorities and measures to be undertaken by both sides to further enhance their political-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation and realise the full potential of the ASEAN-U.S. partnership.

Through the implementation of this Plan of Action, both sides will work on further supporting the ASEAN Community building and integration process, including the ASEAN Community Vision 2025: Forging Ahead Together, for a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN. ASEAN and the United States will also strengthen cooperation and coordination in addressing emerging regional and global challenges of common concern over the next five years and support the continued development of a rules-based regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific.

ASEAN and the United States will work closely to further strengthen the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership, particularly within the five priority areas of cooperation within the ambit of the three ASEAN Community pillars, namely economic integration, maritime cooperation, transnational challenges including climate change, emerging leaders, and women’s opportunities. An overarching focus on science and technology, as well as rule of law and good governance, will ensure that cooperation in these priority areas will help deepen ASEAN centrality, integration and unity, broaden shared prosperity, and help secure dignity and human rights for our people.

ASEAN and the United States hereby endeavor to pursue cooperation in conformity with their obligations under international law and in accordance with their respective domestic laws, regulations, and policies.

1.    Political-Security Cooperation

1.1. Political Cooperation

1.1.1.   Continue to support ASEAN Centrality in the regional architecture, as well as further promote shared values and norms, including those enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) Declaration on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations (Bali Principles), to contribute towards maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region and beyond;

1.1.2.   Enhance cooperation to support ASEAN’s efforts in peace and reconciliation in the region through relevant mechanisms, including, where appropriate, the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR);

1.1.3.   Support ASEAN and U.S. efforts to contribute towards a rules-based regional architecture through relevant ASEAN-led mechanisms;

1.1.4.   Sustain ASEAN-U.S. dialogue at the highest level through the convening of the annual ASEAN-U.S. Summit;

1.1.5.   Strengthen the existing mechanisms for consultation and cooperation between ASEAN and the U.S., including the ASEAN-U.S. Summit, the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC+1) with the U.S., the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue, and the ASEAN-U.S. Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC);

1.1.6.   Work closely to strengthen the EAS, with ASEAN as the driving force, as a leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region, including through regular engagement, inter alia, between the CPR and non-ASEAN EAS Ambassadors in Jakarta;

1.1.7.   Strengthen collaboration and coordination in other multilateral frameworks and fora, including the United Nations, on issues of common interest and concern, and support the implementation of the Bali Declaration on ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations (Bali Concord III) Plan of Action (2013-2017);

1.1.8.   Consider exploring further implementation of the recommendations, where appropriate, of the ASEAN-U.S. Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on further strengthening and deepening the ASEAN-U.S. partnership;

1.2. Security Cooperation

1.2.1.   Promote dialogue and strengthen cooperation to address regional security challenges facing the region through the existing ASEAN-led fora such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM- Plus), and the East Asia Summit (EAS);

1.2.2.   Continue to promote the exchange of military officers, defense officials, and coastguard officials between individual ASEAN Member States and the U.S.;

1.2.3.   Promote maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded commerce, exercise of self-restraint, non-use of force or the threat to use force, and resolution of disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the relevant standards and recommended practices by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO);

1.2.4.   Deepen ASEAN-U.S. maritime cooperation, including maritime security, search and rescue and safety of navigation in the region through appropriate and relevant ASEAN mechanisms and ASEAN-led fora such as the EAS, the ADMM-Plus, the ARF, the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and its Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) and where appropriate, promote technical cooperation, shared awareness, capacity building, exchange of experience and sharing of knowledge and expertise;

1.2.5.   Strengthen cooperation within the ARF and support the implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement 2020, including in the areas of preventive diplomacy, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and transnational crime including cyber-security, non-proliferation and disarmament, and maritime security;

1.2.6.   Intensify the on-going efforts of States Parties to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) and the Nuclear Weapon States to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to the signing and ratifying of the Protocol to that Treaty;

1.2.7.   Explore cooperation in strengthening nuclear security, nuclear safety, and nuclear safeguards, in accordance with the IAEA safety and security standards, through capacity building and sharing of experience and best practices;

1.2.8.   Continue to hold regular Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) + U.S. Consultations to further strengthen cooperation in combatting transnational crime, particularly trafficking in persons, sea piracy, counter terrorism, and explore possible cooperation in the area of illicit trafficking of wildlife and timber listed in the CITES Appendices;

1.2.9.   Support the implementation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the ASEAN Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons, Particularly Women and Children, and the ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement in Enhancing Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons in Southeast Asia through capacity building and information sharing to enhance law enforcement and prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims, prevention of trafficking in persons, and public awareness campaigns;

1.2.10.    Promote cooperation to tackle illicit drug trafficking, including through support for the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan for Combatting Illicit Drug Production, Trafficking and Use, as well as the work of the ASEAN Narcotics Cooperation Centre (ASEAN-NARCO), including utilising the capacity of the International Law Enforcement Academy for transnational crime cooperation, training, and capacity building, where appropriate;

1.2.11.    Promote cooperation in addressing humanitarian aspects of landmines and other explosive remnants of war issues in the region, including through possible financial and technical support for the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC), to be further explored as more details about ARMAC are made available;

1.2.12.    Continue to support the work of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group on Humanitarian Mine Action;

1.2.13.    Support ASEAN in counterterrorism programmes, including through regional cooperation against foreign terrorist fighters and sharing of best practices to counter violent extremism, as well as the implementation of the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT);

1.2.14.    Support ASEAN in building its capacity to respond to threats to cybersecurity;

1.3. Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights Promotion

1.3.1.   Support ASEAN’s efforts in promoting good governance, including through sharing of experiences and best practices;

1.3.2.   Support the work and mandate of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), including capacity building for the promotion and protection of human rights and its priority programmes/ activities;

1.3.3.   Support ASEAN Member States in anti-corruption efforts, through inter alia, the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption;

1.4. Countering Violent Extremism and Promotion of Moderation

1.4.1.   Support the implementation of the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and the EAS Declaration on the GMM to promote peace, security, uphold rule of law, sustainable and inclusive development, equitable growth, and social harmony;

1.4.2.   Encourage cooperation on interfaith and inter-cultural dialogues and further contribute internationally and regionally to the promotion of tolerance and understanding through initiatives such as the GMM and promoting moderation as a core value to counter extremism and acts of violence in all aspects;

2.    Economic Cooperation

2.1. Trade and Investment

2.1.1.   Work cooperatively on the implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (ASEAN-U.S. TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiative in enhancing overall U.S.-ASEAN economic engagement and supporting the ASEAN Economic Community’s goals, including inclusive and sustainable growth;

2.1.2.   Continue regular dialogues and consultations between the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and their Senior Officials to explore and realise ways to further deepen trade and investment ties in areas of mutual interest;

2.1.3.   Promote interaction and networking between ASEAN and U.S. businesses through activities conducted by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC)  and the American Chambers of Commerce to explore and fully utilise trade and investment opportunities, as well as to maximise the private sector’s involvement in promoting two-way trade and investment;

2.1.4.   Strengthen collaboration and coordination in multi-lateral frameworks and fora on issues of common interest and concern, such as promoting sustainable and equitable development, as well as liberalisation and facilitating trade and investment;

2.2. Finance Cooperation

2.2.1.   Continue dialogues through informal meetings, where appropriate, between the ASEAN Finance Ministers and the USABC to further explore ways to develop ASEAN-U.S. finance cooperation;

2.2.2.   Explore further cooperation on financial infrastructure development and capital market development to create strong and robust economic and financial fundamentals for sustainable and balanced growth;

2.2.3.   Explore supporting regional financial development and integration through capacity building with a view to strengthening the competitiveness of ASEAN financial institutions and enhancing the capacity of financial regulators;

2.2.4.   Encourage the expansion of trade financing and other available funding support mechanisms for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to stimulate trade;

2.2.5.   Promote financial inclusion in the ASEAN region to strengthen the financial system and support trade in goods and services;

2.3. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

2.3.1.   Strengthen cooperation in the field of intellectual property (IP), including support for the implementation of the ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Strategic Action Plan (2016-2025);

2.3.2.   Continue capacity building and technical assistance to:

(i)            enhance knowledge and public awareness in strengthening IPR regimes, including protection and enforcement;

(ii)          increase transparency in IP laws and systems; and

(iii)         facilitate effective and efficient IP management and commercialisation to benefit stakeholders, including SMEs, through IP policies and practices;

2.3.3.   Support ASEAN Member States’ efforts in achieving effective IP protection and enforcement consistent with agreed international standards and international agreements to which ASEAN Member States are parties;

2.4. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

2.4.1.   Support the implementation of the ASEAN Post-2015 Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (2016-2025), as well as the development of (SMEs, including micro enterprises in ASEAN towards being globally competitive, resilient and innovative;

2.4.2.   Continue to provide technical assistance and capacity building to develop ASEAN entrepreneurs, with particular focus on women and youth  entrepreneurs, to be able to compete regionally and globally and support ASEAN’s efforts to nurture SMEs through exchange programmes and activities between ASEAN and US youth;

2.4.3.   Continue to promote sharing of information, best practices and technical assistance relating to e-commerce, e-learning platforms, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge and skills, and ways to improve access to finance and alternative financing, particularly for business start-ups;

2.5. Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

2.5.1.   Support ASEAN in the implementation of the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (2016-2020);

2.5.2.   Expand ICT cooperation through continued U.S.-TELSOM/TELMIN dialogue and consultations, knowledge sharing, capacity building and joint programmes in areas such as high-skilled ICT professional development, e-government, e-commerce, broadband infrastructure, information technology policy and services, advances in technology, promotion of innovation, and bridging the digital divide;

2.6. Transport

2.6.1.   Strengthen cooperation to enhance transport infrastructure, networks and operations, including support for the implementation of the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025;

2.6.2.   Encourage knowledge sharing and exchange of experience on cross-border transportation, civil aviation, and environmentally-friendly transport systems;

2.6.3.   Support the implementation of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market, as well as enhance aviation relations and engagement between ASEAN and the U.S. through the initiation of the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group + U.S. consultations, developing an ASEAN-U.S. Aviation Cooperation Framework covering comprehensive economic and technical components;

2.7. Energy

2.7.1.   Support the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2020, particularly in areas outlined in the U.S.-ASEAN Energy Cooperation Work Plan 2016-2020, namely energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, power sector, natural gas and petroleum, as well as other energy-related issues;

2.7.2.   Continue consultations between the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Energy (SOME) and the U.S. to further strengthen ASEAN-U.S. energy cooperation;

2.7.3.   Encourage exchange of best practices on energy regulatory frameworks and technical standards and support regional capacity building in civilian nuclear energy power generation for regulators, operators, relevant technical support organisations, and relevant educational institutions;

2.7.4.   Promote the sharing of information, knowledge, and experience ontechnology, as well as a legal and regulatory framework on alternative, clean and renewable energy, including civilian nuclear energy;

2.8. Food, Agriculture and Forestry

2.8.1.   Continue cooperation with the Senior Officials Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF) and its subsidiary bodiesin areas of mutual interest;

2.8.2.   Explore support for ASEAN’s efforts in implementing  the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS) 2015-2020;

2.8.3.   Strengthen cooperation in developing productivity, enhancing technologies and best practices that involve optimal land use and sustainable fisheries resources;

2.8.4.   Support, where appropriate, ASEAN’s efforts in farmer empowerment;

2.8.5.   Enhance regional cooperation on adaptation to address the impact of climate change on food security;

2.8.6.   Support ASEAN cooperation to improve the governance of trans-boundary fishing and traceability of fishery products to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing including through, among others, the improvement of regulation and control of fishing vessels through registries, the use of vessel monitoring systems and effective catch documentation schemes, as well as explore possibilities to further the cooperation through regional and international processes;

2.8.7.   Support the facilitation of concerted and coordinated joint actions and enforcement efforts in the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), including through partnerships between ASEAN and U.S. government agencies and institutions, to address the illegal exploitation and trade in endangered  species of wild flora and fauna within the ASEAN region, consistent with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

2.8.8.   Support ASEAN‘s efforts in implementing sustainable forest management and agricultural practices, including technical cooperation, capacity building, partnerships, and exchanges of experiences and best practices;

2.8.9.   Support ASEAN’s Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture, and Forestry (2016-2025);

3.    Socio-Cultural Cooperation

3.1. Disaster Management

3.1.1.   Support ASEAN’s vision for disaster-resilient nations and safer communities in the region by supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme Phase 2 (2013-2015) and the work of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) beyond 2015;

3.1.2.   Support ASEAN’s work in the coordination and mobilisation of humanitarian assistance, and strengthen the existing ASEAN mechanisms through exchange of expertise and knowledge;

3.1.3.   Support ASEAN’s efforts in developing an ASEAN-wide disaster risk assessment system through hazard and vulnerability mapping, as well as support the strengthening of the ASEAN Disaster Management Training Institutes Network (ADTRAIN) and priority training courses under the AADMER;

3.2. Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity

3.2.1.   Strengthen cooperation in addressing climate change issues, and support coordination on these issues;

3.2.2.   Explore cooperation to pursue the effective implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. Joint Statement on Climate Change, including submission of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), assistance in climate finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building for ASEAN Member States for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions;

3.2.3.   Promote, where feasible, cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices, including institutional and human capacity building, in environmental protection and conservation, waste management and pollution control, environmental awareness promotion, environmental monitoring and impact assessment, and environmental law enforcement;

3.2.4.   Explore cooperation to strengthen ASEAN’s efforts in Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), including through support for the implementation of ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (AEEAP) 2014-2018;

3.2.5.   Support the development of climate-adapted and resilient cities in ASEAN;

3.2.6.   Explore collaboration in sustainable water resources management;

3.2.7.   Support air quality improvement in the ASEAN region;

3.2.8.   Promote cooperation on the sustainable use of coastal and marine environment, including addressing threats to marine ecosystems and coastal environment, in particular the risks of pollution and other anthropogenic impacts;

3.2.9.   Explore support for ASEAN’s efforts in the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution to effectively address land and forest fires in the region;

3.2.10.  Promote biodiversity conservation and management through regional capacity building, including through possible support for the work of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB);

3.2.11.  Support the green economy and green growth in ASEAN through, among others, the ASEAN Institute for Green Economy (AIGE), which will serve as a centre of excellence to encourage and promote policies and practices to improve sustainable development, conservation, and efficient use of natural resources as well as to address climate change;

3.2.12.  Strengthen cooperation in addressing issues regarding the management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes, oil spills, as well as other threats to the environment, by utilising existing regional and international institutions and agreements;

3.2.13.  Promote cooperation to provide the peoples of ASEAN access to clean water, clean air, basic health care, and other social services, so that they may lead healthy and productive lives and thereby contribute to ASEAN and the global community;

3.3. Science and Technology

3.3.1.   Continue ASEAN-U.S. Consultations on Science and Technology to further explore cooperation in areas of mutual interest;

3.3.2.   Encourage science and technology exchanges and knowledge transfers, where appropriate, through capacity building for ASEAN’s science and technology authorities;

3.3.3.   Encourage collaboration and cooperation among research centres, as well as exchanges of experts and the mobility of scientists and researchers, in conducting joint research programmes, including through the ASEAN-U.S. Science & Technology Fellows Programme;

3.3.4.   Continue to promote women in science through the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women;

3.4. Public Health

3.4.1.   Support the implementation of the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda, including sharing of best practices and experiences which may include seminars, workshops, and training courses in the areas of public health and ASEAN’s preparedness and response to communicable and emerging infectious diseases, pandemics, and other potential public health threats;

3.5. Education and Youth

3.5.1.   Strengthen engagement between U.S. and ASEAN higher education institutions, staff and students and promote ASEAN and U.S. awareness and studies, including through the Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Programme and other scholarship and exchange programmes;

3.5.2.   Provide support for programmes related to the promotion of ASEAN awareness and identity, to complement efforts related to the ASEAN Curriculum Sourcebook and the ASEAN Studies module, which were developed under the US-TATF programme;

3.5.3.   Continue capacity building programmes, including scholarships for postgraduate studies and English language training, for educators and civil servants in ASEAN;

3.5.4.   Continue ASEAN-U.S. youth exchange programmes, such as the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), to strengthen networking and leadership development among youth and promote ASEAN;

3.5.5.   Promote ASEAN studies programmes in universities and academic institutions in the U.S.;

3.5.6.   Support the continued development of the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme (AYVP);

3.5.7.   Support ASEAN’s efforts to cultivate youth entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation through programmes and activities;

3.6. Culture and People-to-People Exchange

3.6.1.   Continue to support the implementation of the ASEAN Communication Master Plan to build ASEAN community awareness and identity;

3.6.2.   Promote awareness of conservation of intangible and tangible cultural heritage, as well as understanding of each other’s arts, culture, customs, faith and religions, cultural networks, and cultural knowledge;

3.7. Social Welfare

3.7.1.   Support the work of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) and its priority areas, including the ACWC Network of Social Service Agencies (NOSSA);

3.7.2.   Explore support for the ASEAN Children’s Forum initiative as a means to promote child participation in ASEAN community-building;

3.7.3.   Promote exchange of information and best practices, as well as technical cooperation and capacity building in social development, women’s empowerment, and the care and protection of children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups;

3.7.4.   Explore cooperation to promote and protect the rights of women, children and vulnerable groups, such as migrant workers and persons with disabilities;

4.    Connectivity

4.1.1.   Promote cooperation on ASEAN Connectivity in its three key dimensions, namely physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity, including through capacity building, outreach, and resource mobilisation for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and the post-2015 agenda for ASEAN Connectivity;

4.1.2.   Promote Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), where appropriate, in infrastructure development and other financing modalities for the implementation of the MPAC;

5.    Development Cooperation

5.1.1.   Continue to support the realisation of goals under the three ASEAN Community pillars, through inter alia, the ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security (ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS) and the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI) programmes;

5.1.2.   Increase regional cooperation under the U.S.-Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), particularly in the areas of environmental protection and sustainable water management, health, education, agriculture and food security, energy security, and connectivity;

5.1.3.   Support the convening of Ministerial and Senior Officials Meetings, as appropriate, between the U.S. and Lower Mekong Basin countries on an annual basis;

6.    Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI)

6.1.1.   Support ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing the development gap between and within ASEAN, and further promote regional integration through the implementation of the IAI Framework and its Work Plan II and its successor documents, as well as alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development in order to realise the ASEAN Community and regional integration;

7.    Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat

7.1.1.   Work together to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat, particularly in the areas of public outreach and project management, as well as training and capacity building courses for the ASEAN Secretariat staff;

8.    Implementation Mechanisms

8.1.1.   Regularly review the progress of this Plan of Action through the existing mechanisms of ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations, including the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting and the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue; and

8.1.2.   Submit progress reports of the implementation of the Plan of Action to the annual ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC+1) with the U.S